My weekly column is aimed at giving you more of the story-behind-the-story around the issues and the candidates. I hope you’ll read this section each Friday as I try to break down
more barriers to voter participation.
Goal: Engage Calgary voters.
How many of the 2010 mayoral candidates have you met so far?
You’re in the majority if you said none.
Rest assured, candidates are trying their best to fix that. At least, a few are.
With the summer festival season ending this weekend, the biggest opportunity for candidates to meet you is officially ending, too.
Kent Hehr (with his balloons for the kids) and Naheed Nenshi (with his bright purple signs and t-shirts) were likely the busiest during the season, attending all the major festivals. Wayne Stewart’s volunteers were out in full force handing out brochures, while Bob Hawkesworth was out at some festivals doing the same.
Barb Higgins, Paul Hughes and Ric McIver weren’t big into having a booth and instead chose to fly under the radar by walking the street talking to people they bumped into. (McIver did have a booth at Kensington’s Sun and Salsa, but packed up and left early.)
Craig Burrows chose a different tactic with his “100 communities in 100 days” RV. Many know him only from seeing that big blue and yellow camper.
But those heady days of summer are behind us. Candidates have had their moment in the sun — literally. If they haven’t got a full head of steam by now, it will be a struggle to win the race.
They’ll still try to get your attention by attending events, mostly forums and debates. But this format doesn’t provide much time for one-on-one interaction.
They’ll spend money on impersonal computerized phone calls. They’ll spend time slowly going door-to-door in your neighbourhood or having volunteers make equally time-consuming personal calls. They’ll figure out that Twitter and Facebook really are good places to have conversations with Calgarians.
But most of all, they’ll realize the best opportunities to meet us face to face are gone. And they’ll have to wrestle with whether they have proven they know how to listen to Calgarians when it’s most convenient.